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Bob Duncan 

ovember ushers in 

days of beauty and 

bounty for people 
who love the outdoors. 
It is also a busy month 
for our agency. As hunt- 
ing and wildlife-related activities pick 
up, our employees shift into high gear 
to respond to phone calls, to educate, 
and to address public safety con- 
cerns. Conservation police officers 
help patrol fields and woodlands and 
maintain close contact with hunters 
across Virginia. And we are some- 
times called upon to assist beyond 
state borders — during natural disas- 
ters, when large-scale rescue by boat 
is required. 

And, that's the way it should be. 
Our law enforcement team is well 
schooled in outdoor situations and 
dangers, and they stand ready to help. 
While we are reimbursed for such 
out-of-state efforts, it does beg a ques- 
tion about resources and how to pro- 
vide more services while stretching 
our staff and overall operational 
budget. I imagine you are feeling the 
pinch as well. 

It is tempting to point fingers 
when economic times are tough. It is 
much more difficult to look inward, 

to consider what histo- 
ry might teach us. There 
have been some inter- 
esting commentaries 
lately about the contri- 
butions hunters make 
to society. One in the Washington 
Post recently (9/14/08) reminded the 
reader that hunters just might have 
written the original script for "being 
green." The author, Steve Sanetti, ex- 
tols the fact that eating locally harvest- 
ed meat reduces our carbon foot- 
print. He also notes the high nutrition- 
al and low-fat content of wild game. 
Mr. Sanetti goes on to say that hunters 
are wise and generous when it comes 
to stewarding the natural world. 

I would agree. I would add that 
during times of economic upheaval 
Americans have done well to "return 
to the land." History reveals that being 
connected to nature — through the 
local bounty of fish, game, and wild 
plants — has sustained many a family. 
Virginia hunters and anglers and natu- 
ralists know this well. Hunters, espe- 
cially, have a reputation for sharing 
the fruits of their labor with others in 
need. This Thanksgiving, perhaps 
more than any other, I am grateful to 
be standing among their ranks. 

Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of 

the Commonwealth;To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor 
recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided 
for in the Constitution of Virginia;To promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunt- 
ing and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and apprecia- 
tion for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 
Volume 69 Number 1 1 

Commonwealth of Virginia 
Timothy M. Kaine, Governor 



Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

L. Preston Bryant, Jr. 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 

Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Sherry Smith Crumley, Buchanan 
William T. Greer, Jr., Norfolk 
James W Hazel, Oakton 
C. T. Hill, Midlothian 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W Montgomery, Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
Richard E. Railey, Courtland 
Thomas A. Stroup, Fairfax 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 

Emily Pels, Art Director 

Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 

Stephen Living, Jeff Trollinger, Ken Conger, 

Staff Contributors 

Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published monthly 
by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland 
Fisheries. Send all subscription orders and address 
changes to Virginia Wildlife, P. 0. Box 7477, Red Oak, 
Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other communications 
concerning this publication to Virginia Wildlife, P. 0. Box 
11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 
23230-1104. Subscription rates are $12.95 for one year, 
$23.95 for two years; $4.00 per each back issue, subject 
to availability. Out-of-country rate is $24.95 for one year 
and must be paid in U.S. funds. No refunds for amounts 
less than $5.00. To subscribe, call toll-free (800) 710- 
9369. Postmaster: Please send all address changes to 
Virginia Wildlife, P.O. Box 7477, Red Oak, Iowa 51591- 
0477. Postage for periodicals paid at Richmond. Virginia 
and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2008 by the Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall 
afford to all persons an equal access to Department pro- 
grams and facilities without regard to race, color, reli- 
gion, national origin, disability, sex, or age. If you believe 
that you have been discriminated against in any pro- 
gram, activity or facility, please write to: Virginia 
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, ATTN: 
Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broad Street.) P.O. Box 
11104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general informational 
purposes only and every effort has been made to ensure 
its accuracy. The information contained herein does not 
serve as a legal representation of fish and wildlife laws 
or regulations. The Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries does not assume responsibility for any 
change in dates, regulations, or information that may 
occur after publication." 


About the cover: 
Both the drake and the hen wood 
duck (Aixsponsa) are beautiful in 
their own right. Wood ducks belong 
to the family of puddle ducks, native 
to the eastern woods and freshwater 
swamps of the United States. 
©Spike Knuth 




For subscriptions, 

circulation problems 

and address changes 



12 issues for $12.95 
24 issues for $23.95 
36 issues for $29.95 




The Hunt is More Than The Harvest 

by Randall Shank 

A duck hunter reflects upon defining 

moments in the field. 

Passing It On 

by David Hart 

Hunters have much to give — and 
receive — by partnering with some- 
one new to the sport. 

Lake Prince sTrifecta 

by Marc N.McGlade 

This Suffolk County lake pays big 

Retaining a Geography of Hope 

Now is the time for Virginians to take 
proactive steps to save the land they 



Seeing is Believing 

by Gail Brown 

The Appalachian Trail provides one 

school with the perfect backdrop for 

place-based education. 

Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! 
by Spike Knuth 
Puddle Ducks 

Afield and Afloat 

30 Journal 

• A Duck Hunters Journal 

34 PhotoTips 

Celebrate the Season With Holiday 
Light Photograph) '! 

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©F. Eugene Hester 

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by Randall Shank 

/] s I waited in the blind, I saw 
Sh J an approaching wall of 
T v clouds on the horizon. The 
front rolled in with a terrific wind but 
no rain. It was as if someone had 
opened a floodgate somewhere up- 
river, but instead of water being re- 
leased, there was a flood of ducks. 
Mallards, teal and bluebills flew 

downriver with the wind at their 
backs. Seeing our decoys, they 
cupped their wings looking for com- 
pany and a place to land out of the 
wind. The ducks veered past the de- 
coys and came back flying into the 
gale to attempt a landing in front of 
our blind. They didn't hesitate. All 
caution for them was literally thrown 
to the wind. 

The spectacle of it all is what I re- 
member. We had been in the blind 
since dawn on a mild, uneventful, 
clear December day. With an ap- 
proaching cold front from the north- 

Above: Well placed decoys are an 
important tool in duck hunting. Right: 
For many hunters, the work of a well 
trained retriever raises the level of sat- 
isfaction of the overall experience. 


west, the river basin came alive with 
waterfowl, creating an excitement 
and fervor in the middle of an other- 
wise nondescript afternoon. When 
we left the river that evening, we had 
ducks in our bag, but what I remem- 
ber most was that nature, with all its 
glory and magnificence, treated us to 
a display of raw power that I had not 

Often, the memorable moments 
of hunting come when being totally 
enveloped by all that the outdoors 
has to offer. These times may arrive 
with a sudden storm or the appear- 
ance of an unexpected animal or bird. 
The experiences are often fleeting 
and certainly not scripted. It's magic 
when they happen. These special 
moments help define the reasons 
why I hunt. 

Probably the most satisfying as- 
pect of the pursuit of waterfowl 
comes from the serendipity of not 
knowing what the morning may 
bring. The day is often measured by 
what I saw or experienced, not by 
how many birds fell. 

Sometimes the highlight of the 
day comes before first light. During 
one cold November morning duck 
hunt, I arrived in the early darkness 
to a marsh full of honking Canada 
geese. It was also the morning of the 
annual Leonid meteor shower. I 
stood on the shore looking into the 
starlit sky, and watched a rain of 
shooting stars fall from the sky with a 
cacophony of geese celebrating the 
coming dawn. 

On opening morning of one Oc- 
tober duck season, I set my decoys on 
a small creek that feeds a large marsh 
on the Pamunkey River. From my 
blind I heard a noise behind me and 
to my right. Suddenly, a loud bark- 
like sound arose from the water. Four 
river otters were coming down the 
creek. On this particular morning, 
blocking their path were about a 
dozen duck decoys. It was obvious 
that the lead otter was surprised to 
see the decoys in its path. It let out a 
loud sound that, if translated, might 
have been, "What in the world is 

v> TJn fewest 

To be successful, the waterfowl hunter 
needs to be well hidden and always ready 
for the arrival of ducks or geese. 
Below: The Canada goose population has 
increased in Virginia, providing greater 
opportunities for the hunter to see and 
perhaps bag a goose. 

^v ■■•■ 

F. Eugene Hester 


What may bring the most satis- 
faction to a duck hunter is when his 
dog has a memorable hunt. Many 
waterfowl hunters pursue the sport 
because they like to be around hunt- 
ing retrievers. Once, my Springer 
spaniel swam across the Mattaponi 
River chasing a wing-shot mallard 
that kept swimming and diving to es- 
cape. In hot pursuit, the dog caught 
the duck on the far side of the river. 
She fought the current all the way 
and brought the drake back to my 
feet on the shore. It was her finest re- 

Another day while hunting in 
early October, my hunting partner 
knocked down a wood duck in the 

Virginia's wetlands are home to a variety of wildlife, such as this family of otters- 
a rare treat to encounter. Right: Mallards are the most predominant duck species 
found in Virginia. The calling of one to a spread of decoys takes a lot of practice 
and a little bit of luck. 

After much chatter, the otters re- 
treated back upstream, poking their 
heads above the water. They peered 
at the bobbing decoys and pondered 
what their next move should be. 
Gathering courage, the lead otter 
again swam to the decoys with the 
others right behind. They stopped 
once more at the decoys, and retreat- 
ed up the creek from where they had 
come. On the third try, the four were 
apparently brave enough to swim 
through the decoys and continue 
downstream to the marsh. 

Late one waterfowl season on a 
very cold morning, the Mattaponi 
River was covered in ice. There were 
not many ducks flying over the de- 
coys that morning, but a red fox held 
our attention when it came out of the 
woods and carefully worked its way 
upriver toward our blind. We 
watched the fox for the longest time 
as it looked for something to eat on 
this cold January day. It finally wan- 
dered back into the woods, having as 
much luck with its hunt as we were 
having with ours. 

thick green marsh but when we 
could not locate it, we gave up. Then, 
my dog started digging as hard as 
she could under my feet. She 
grabbed a very much alive wood 
duck out of the mud where it had 
buried itself. This is my only memory 
of that hunt. 

Recently while hunting from a 
blind on a spit of land that juts out 
into the Chesapeake Bay, we arrived 
in the early morning darkness by 
boat on calm seas. Once we got set up 
in the blind the weather began to 
change. To the northwest I saw 

A cold winter day on the Chesapeake 
Bay can make the waterfowl hunter 
feel wonderfully alive. 


A cold front from the north will often bring waterfowl within range of the hunter willing to brave the elements. 

©Randall Shank 

clouds thicken and move in our di- 
rection. The wind picked up and 
shifted out of the north. At the same 
time, groups of Canada geese ap- 
peared from far out in the bay, head- 
ed to the western shore for shelter. 
For the next couple of hours the wind 
grew stronger and geese and ducks 
made their way to the shelter of the 
marsh. For just a few hours it was us, 
the raging wind, white-capped wa- 
ters, and waterfowl everywhere. As 
the waves built in intensity, we real- 
ized that for safety reasons we had to 
leave and get back to the boat land- 
ing. But our spirits wanted to stay. 
I sometimes ask myself why I 

hunt waterfowl on these cold winter 
mornings when the alarm clock 
wakes me from a deep sleep. It is al- 
ways satisfying to call in a flock of 
ducks and have an accurate shot 
bring one down. On some days, 
though, the ducks aren't flying or 
shots don't ring true. The measure of 
success is more than the number of 
birds in the bag. 

Satisfaction comes from spend- 
ing a morning when the cold winds 
from Canada make you feel wonder- 
fully alive. For the duck hunter, it can 
be the feel of the wind in your face or 
the stark beauty of a cold sunrise in 
winter's light. It might be the sight of 

a deer swimming across the river or a 
beaver slapping its tail indignantly at 
your presence. Or, it can be the com- 
panionship of a retrieving dog 
watching a distant flock of ducks 
high in the sky. 

The answer to the question 
changes with each day in the field. 
Never knowing what the day will 
bring is why I go back again and 
again. □ 

Randall Shank is a freelance writer who 
lives on the Mattaponi Riivr in King & 
Queen County. He is currently training a 
Boykin spaniel puppy in preparation for her 
first hunting season. 


It On 

A new apprentice 

license gives 

beginners one more 

reason to hunt. 

photos and story 
by David Hart 

One of the most memorable 
deer of Jay Stoltzfus' life 
didn't carry a giant set of 
antlers on its head and it didn't fall 
from some miracle shot. In fact, 
Stoltzfus didn't even pull the trigger 
on the little five-pointer. His nephew 
did. It was the boy's first deer ever 
and Stoltzfus, a builder from Prince 

It's up to parents, relatives, and friends to continue the hunting tradition. When you 
see the smile on a kid's face when getting the first deer, you'll realize it is worth any 
sacrifices you might have to make. 

Edward County, was sitting next to 
him at the time. 

"He had never hunted before. 
His father used to hunt but he gave it 
up quite a few years ago so when my 
nephew started asking my sister 
about it, she asked me if I would take 
him," he recalls. "I didn't hesitate to 
say yes." 

That was seven years ago and his 
nephew eventually turned into a 
skilled hunter who spends plenty of 
time in the woods on his own now. 
For the first few seasons, however, 
Stoltzfus and his nephew, who was 
12 when he got that five-pointer, sat 
side-by-side, scanning the autumn 
woods for any sign of a passing 
whitetail. He carried a rifle of his 
own, but Stoltzfus never expected to 
actually shoot. Instead, he gladly 
gave every opportunity to his young 
partner. Now Stoltzfus takes his own 
children hunting and just as he did 
with his nephew back then, he gladly 
gives his boys the first shot. 

"I get more enjoyment out of my 
boys having success than when I 
have a successful day myself," he 

These days, Virginia's hunting 
tradition has plenty of competition. 
Parents like Stoltzfus are having a 
hard time squeezing in a few hours in 
a deer stand with their children. 
Weekend sports, after-school activi- 
ties and the general bustle of every- 
day life can get in the way of free time 
that might otherwise be spent in the 
woods. Thanks to Virginia's new ap- 
prentice hunting license, finding a lit- 
tle extra time just got easier. In the 
past, anyone over the age of 12 who 
wanted to hunt had to first take an 
eight-hour hunter safety course. For 
many potential hunters, that was just 
one more hurdle to overcome. The 
apprentice license, however, re- 
moves that obstacle by allowing new 
hunters to go afield under the close 
watch of an adult mentor for up to 
two years. It not only gives beginners 




vft&Bs!"- *" 


Not sure where to start? Try dove or squirrel hunting. There's usually plenty of action 
and children can participate by looking for game and helping retrieve it. 
Left: Teaching a young boy or girl to shoot is a great way to spend time with your 
child, as well as pass on the hunting and shooting tradition. 

an opportunity to test the waters, so 
to speak, it gives parents, friends and 
family members the opportunity to 
do exactly what Jay Stoltzfus did: 
take someone hunting without re- 
quiring them to first pass a safety 

Not Just Tor Kids 

The apprentice license may be 
geared toward young hunters, but 
anyone who wants to enjoy the thrill 
of the autumn woods can participate. 
Paul Cupka took a 58-year-old 
woman on her first-ever deer hunt 
last year. She had some waterfowl 
hunting experience, but despite a 
string of promises by others to get her 
into the woods on a deer hunt, it 
never happened until she met 
Cupka, a general contractor from 

"I took her during muzzleloader 
season and she got a spike within the 

Need A Mentor? 
Just Ask 

As a group, hunters are giving peo- 
ple. They willingly donate venison 
to food banks and they work on 
conservation projects that benefit a 
variety of wildlife. They are also 
more than happy to share their love 
of the outdoors with anyone who 
wants to give it a try. Odds are, 
everyone knows a hunter, or at least 
they know someone who knows a 
hunter. Want to check it out? Just 

Still not sure? Many state chap- 
ters of national conservation organ- 
izations like the National Wild 
Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, 
Delta Waterfowl and Quality Deer 
Management Association hold 
youth or beginner hunts. Check out 
their Web sites to find a chapte 
near you. 


There's more to taking a beginner hunting than just hunting. Teach them everything 
you know and you'll pass along valuable lessons. You may just discover a favorite 
new hunting partner. 

Just How Safe 
Is Hunting? 

Safety issues rank high among the 
concerns of potential new hunters. 
Believe it or not, hunting is one of 
the safest sports, ranking lower in 
injury rates than even golf and 
recreational walking. According to 
a report by the National Shooting 
Sports Foundation, participants in 
both running and soccer are eight 
times more likely to sustain an in- 
jury than while hunting, and hunt- 
ing is far safer than football, bas- 
ketball and hockey. Another study 
found that, as a group, youth 
hunters accompanied by an adult 
have an excellent safety record. 
Concerned? No need. Hunting is ex- 
tremely safe and beginners who fol- 
low the instructions of their mentor 
have nothing to worry about. 

first hour of the hunt," he recalls. 
"She still talks about it every time I 
see her." 

He also takes boys and girls deer, 
duck, dove and goose hunting, and 
he accompanies wounded Iraq war 
veterans into the woods. He helps or- 
ganize group hunts for returning sol- 
diers. Some have previous hunting 
experience; many have none. It's 
Cupka's way of giving back to those 
who gave so much themselves, but 
he admits his motives are somewhat 

"I get such a thrill out of seeing a 
new hunter have success. The look 
on their face when they get their first 
deer or goose or whatever is just awe- 
some. Even if they don't get any- 
thing, just to share the experience and 
to teach them something is as good as 
getting a deer myself. I actually enjoy 
watching others hunt as much as I 
enjoy hunting myself," he says. 

lake the Plunge 

Hunting isn't the easiest sport to 
jump into, agree Stoltzfus and 
Cupka. It's a learned skill, one that 
can take years to master. That learn- 
ing curve, however, is greatly re- 
duced through the help of an adult 
mentor, someone who already 
knows why a buck makes a scrape or 
why squirrels stay in their dens on a 
blustery afternoon. A parent or an 
adult partner with experience can 
help answer all the questions a begin- 
ner might have, like: What equip- 
ment do I need? 

Not much, says Cupka. Truth is, 
you don't need to max out your cred- 
it card to gear up for your first hunt- 
ing trip. You'll need some basic 
equipment, some warm clothes, and 
a gun or bow, but you don't need to 
run out and spend a week's pay- 


Mentoring a beginning hunter doesn't 
end when the season ends. Continue the 
education alt year long; they will be 
better hunters and so will you. 

Watching a young boy or girl grow into 
an accomplished hunter is as rewarding 
as having a successful day in the field 

The simplest solution is to bor- 
row some equipment before you 
make a financial commitment. What 
dedicated hunter doesn't have a safe 
brimming with guns, an extra set of 
camouflage and any other gear you 
might need? Most would be willing 
to share their gear with a responsible 
beginning hunter. Cupka loans guns 
to first-timers because he under- 
stands the start-up costs can be over- 
whelming, and Stoltzfus started his 
kids with guns he already owned. 

"You don't have to outfit a begin- 
ner with the latest and greatest gear. 
Hand-me-downs will work just fine. 
The main thing is to make sure they 
are comfortable and they sit still," he 

Keep It Tun 

But even if a fidgety 10-year-old 
can't sit still, that's okay. Stoltzfus 
suggests letting a kid be a kid. When 

he started taking Tyler when he was 
too young to actually carry his own 
gun, Stoltzfus made sure he kept each 
outing relatively short and he always 
packed plenty of snacks to keep Tyler 
occupied. An afternoon hunt was as 
much a picnic as an actual hunting 
trip, but what mattered most was that 
Tyler enjoyed the event. 

"I never expected to actually get a 
deer when Tyler was young, but that 
didn't matter. What I was concerned 
about was making sure we had fun 
together, even if we were just going 
for a walk," he says. 

Those walks, however, always 
incorporated some sort of lesson that 
could be used on future hunting trips. 
Stoltzfus would point out buck rubs, 
scrapes and other sign and he would 
explain how that sign related to deer 
behavior. Cupka also uses his time 
with beginning hunters to teach them 
some basic knowledge of game and 
non-game wildlife. The more any 
hunter knows about nature, the better 
their odds of success. 

He also stresses the importance 
of making the event fun, even if that 
means sacrificing any realistic chance 
of success. He gladly lets his young 
guests honk on their goose call or 
blow on a buck grunt call or dig 
through the inevitable bag of snacks 
that always accompanies him in the 
field. If each outing is a positive one, 
those beginners will eventually 
spend more time focused on the ulti- 
mate goal of hunting — bringing 
home some game for the table. Until 
then, Cupka isn't concerned about 

"If they're having fun, I'm having 
fun," he says. 

Cupka is only 31 and his first 
child is just 2. He could be spending 
his free time in a tree stand by himself 
or hanging out with other guys with 
the same skill level and enthusiasm 
for hunting as he has. Instead, he 
gladly sacrifices his own hunting 
time to share Ms knowledge with oth- 
ers, not because it's the right thing to 
do, but because it's just plain fun. □ 

David Hart is a full-time freelance writer 
and photographer from Rice. He is a regular 
contributor to numerous national hunting 
and fishing magazines. 


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Three fish. 

Three state records. 

One lake. 

story and photos by 

There must be something 
in the water. How else 
could it be explained? 
Lake Prince is home to three state- 
record fish. It's ridiculous, frankly. 
Some bodies of water are just simply, 
well, special. That describes this 
Coastal Plain beauty. 

In this continuing series, we 

share the three state records from Suf- 
folk's Lake Prince: white perch, carp, 
and longnose gar. Some of the best 
lakes in Virginia are located near 
downtown Suffolk and are dubbed 
the Suffolk lakes. Cotton, peanut, and 
soybean fields surround this quaint 
town in Southside. The Suffolk lakes 
are positioned just west of Virginia's 
Great Dismal Swamp National 
Wildlife Refuge. 

The Suffolk lakes are made up of 
a series of interconnected water bod- 
ies, including Western Branch Reser- 
voir, Lake Prince, Burnt Mills Reser- 
voir, Speights Run, Lake Cohoon 
(sometimes spelled Cahoon), Lake 
Meade, Lake Kilby, and the Lone Star 
Lakes (a series of 12 lakes, some inter- 

connected and varying in size from 
three to 50 acres, totaling 490 acres). 

Lake Cohoon, Lake Meade, Lake 
Kilby, and Speights Run are water 
supply reservoirs owned by the city 
of Portsmouth, but located in Suffolk. 
The city of Norfolk owns Burnt Mills 
Reservoir, Lake Prince, and Western 
Branch Reservoir. 

The Skinny on Lake 
Prince's Fat Fish 

Lake Prince is the second largest 
of the Suffolk lakes, at 777 acres. Two 
major swamps (Ennis and Carbell) 
feed Lake Prince. The upper portions 
of these swamps are dense cypress 


Left: Suffolk's Lake Prince is a scenic lake in Virginia's Coastal Plain that lays claim 
to three current state-record fish. Top: Stephen Miklandric of Chesterfield is a gar 
expert who frequents the Suffolk lakes. He is trying to break the state record and 
believes another monster gar lurks in Suffolk. Above: Lake Pn'nce's dam is a tiered 
structure that separates the lake from Western Branch Reservoir. 

The three state-record residents 
from Lake Prince are quite impres- 
sive. A giant white perch (Morone 
americana) weighing 2 pounds, 8 
ounces is Virginia's all-time champi- 
on "stiffback." A 49-pound, 4-ounce 
bruiser of a common carp (Cyprinus 
carpio) also hails from the 777-acre 
fishing spot. Lastly, Lake Prince 
coughed up a 25-pound, 2-ounce 
longnose gar (Lepisosteus ossens). 

Chad Boyce is a fisheries biolo- 
gist from the district office of the De- 
partment of Game and Inland Fish- 
eries (DGIF) in Chesapeake who 
manages the fish factory. He prefaces 


his comments by saying he doesn't 
believe Lake Prince has "magic 
water" that has resulted in these 
state-record fish. 

"Rather," he says, "it probably 
has a lot to do with the fact that gar 
and white perch are native to the 
drainage, and targeted by a select an- 
gler group." Similarly, carp have 
been in the Nansemond drainage 
since the late 1880s and are now con- 
sidered a naturalized species here. 

Lake Prince largemouth expert Bobby 
Kinsey battles a trophy largemouth from 
the Suffolk fish factory. 

Whatever the reason or reasons, 
it's incredible. 

White perch weighing 1 pound 
and 4 ounces, or measuring 13 inches 
in length, qualify for a trophy fish cer- 
tificate from the DGIF; 20 pounds or 
34 inches for carp; and 10 pounds or 
40 inches for longnose gar. 

Boyce speculates that, most like- 
ly, the state-record fish caught in Lake 
Prince were able to grow to such sizes 
because they are all either native fish 
or introduced long ago and already 
established species in the western 
branch of the Nansemond River 
drainage — the river that was im- 
pounded to form Prince in the 1920s. 

"All three species (white perch, 
carp and gar) are common fishes in 
the tidewater area, especially in the 
fresh-to-brackish upper reaches of 
the rivers and creeks," he explains. 

"Once the lake was impounded, 
these local fishes (and others) estab- 
lished themselves and obviously 
have done quite well. Gizzard shad 
and many other prey species are 
abundant in the lake and provide 
great forage for the gar and white 

Boyce says carp in this lake do 
not seem to be overly abundant, but 
biologists do see some large individ- 
uals. The carp likely feed upon 
macrophytes (aquatic plants), algae, 

Red wigglers paired with a sinker will 
fool some feisty redears from Lake 

He says they have also encoun- 
tered some large carp in their sam- 
pling efforts, but it is likely that the 
lack of attention to these "lowly" fish 
is the real reason the record 
has not been broken. 
. "Many fishermen 
may not even be 
aware that state 
records exist for gar 
and carp," Boyce 
contends, "and it's 
possible that record fish 
have been caught and re- 
leased by fishermen that simply did 
not want to deal with a large gar or 
carp in their boat. 

"We captured a white perch in 
Prince in 2006 that weighed over 2 
pounds when striped bass sampling 
with gill nets and it was released 

alive. A new state-record white perch 
could be swimming in the lake 

According to the biologist, white 
perch garner a lot of seasonal atten- 
tion from local anglers, but the pri- 
mary draw is the great largemouth 
bass and sunfish opportunities, as 
well as other game fish such as 
striped bass, chain pickerel, and crap- 

"Prince is renowned as being a 
mid-summer destination for anglers 
seeking a citation sunfish," the biolo- 
gist says, "but summer is also a great 
time to target the big, longnose gar 
that are often seen basking near the 
surface. Many anglers shy away from 
these inland 'leviathans,' but a 15- to 
20-pound gar on light tackle is no 

and benthic (bottom-dwelling) in- 

Prince Is No Pauper 

Besides the state-record species, 
Lake Prince affords anglers the 
chance at numerous other fish 
species. Perceptive bass anglers have 
long known about its chunky large- 

"Prince is perhaps the best large- 
mouth bass lake in southeastern Vir- 
ginia, with numerous citations 
caught each year," Boyce adds. "Sun- 
fish such as bluegill, redear (shell- 
cracker), and redbreast sunfish are 
abundant and can grow quite large. 
White perch, black crappie, chain 
pickerel, and striped bass are fre- 
quently targeted by anglers as well." 

Boyce says the Department has 
captured near state-record weight 
longnose gar during their striped 
bass gill net sampling, and they have 
lost a few monster gar and carp that 
were able to escape the nets as they 
were hoisting them. 

"I would not be surprised at all to 
see another state-record gar come 
from Prince," he says. "Carp are not 
as abundant in Prince as they are in 
Western Branch but tend to be big- 
ger." (Lake Prince flows into Western 
Branch, and the lakes are separated 
only by a dam.) 

Lake Prince 

Luke I'rincc 

For fisheries information and regulations regarding Lake Prince, contact the 
DGIF district office in Chesapeake at (757) 465-6812. For even more informa- 
tion, visit online at 

Lake Prince's boat ramp is located on Route 604 (Lake Prince Road), off Route 
460 at Providence Church. Bank fishing is restricted to a small area around 
the ramp. Lake Prince is open from sunrise to sunset, all year. Gas motors as 
powerful as 9.9 horsepower are allowed. The city of Norfolk has amended 
their codes to allow boats with outboard motors larger than 9.9 horsepower 
to access the lake if the gas tank is removed or the outboard is disabled (by 
removing the propeller). 

Anglers must have a daily or annual city of Norfolk boat permit (in addition to 
a Virginia freshwater fishing license) to launch private boats. These can be 
purchased through a mail-in form by visiting 
sources/ or locally at Dashiell's Showroom and Owens Self Service in Suffolk. 

The city of Norfolk's Web site ( in- 
cludes lake maps in Adobe Acrobat Reader format. 



Small boat anglers will do fine at Suffolk's Lake Prince. Gas motors as powerful as 9.9 horsepower are allowed. 

Below: Massive white perch roam Lake Prince. The state record weighed 2 pounds, 8 ounces, which is a giant specimen. 

Come See for Yourself 

Suffolk is sandwiched between 
Virginia's incredible saltwater fishing 
to the east and Lake Gaston and 
Buggs Island Lake to the west. Oddly 
enough, the Suffolk lakes can be 
overlooked, despite their top-heavy 
rankings when it comes to the Old 
Dominion's trophy fish certificates. 
Yes, there indeed is something in the 
water at Lake Prince: many species of 
fish — big fish — and lots of them! □ 

Marc N. McGlade is a writer and photogra- 
pher from Midlothian. As a self-proclaimed 
angling addict, Marc travels across Vir- 
ginia fishing for a variety of species. 




- -v ♦;• 



/-/oi^/ Conservation 

Easements Preserve 

Virginia's Family 

Farms and Wildlife 



Virginia has seen explosive 
growth in the last several 
decades. While the rate of 
population influx from other states 
and countries has been enormous, 
the acreage of land being trans- 
formed into suburbs, shopping cen- 
ters, golf courses and freeways has 
been significantly higher. Today 
landowners in even the most rural 
areas of the Commonwealth, previ- 
ously spared the unsupportable in- 
creases in property values that ac- 
company aggressive land specula- 
tion, are experiencing unprecedented 
pressure to develop their open 
spaces, family farms and working 

Hundreds of thousands of retir- 
ing baby-boomers can use the Inter- 
net to virtually access even the most 
remote Appalachian hollows to hunt 
for real estate, and the traditional in- 
habitants of these areas are finding it 
difficult to refuse their offers. 
Landowners desiring to keep their 
property intact are faced with a series 
of financial complications that, with- 
out proper guidance, may make 
passing land down to their children 


financially impossible, eventually 
forcing them to sell it off for develop- 

An accelerating factor in the on- 
going loss of open space and farm- 
land is the fact that individual title- 
holders to private interests in land are 
growing older, with a median age of 
55-65 years. A nationwide turnover 
in title over the next several decades 
will be the inevitable result of the eco- 
nomic and demographic situation 
we currently face and will affect mil- 
lions of acres of open space. Now is 
the time for Virginians to take proac- 
tive steps to save the land they love. 

What is a 
Conservation Easement? 

Voluntary restrictions on land 
use that pass with the title in perpetu- 
ity, conservation easements are the 
most popular and successful means 
of preserving family land. Essential- 
ly, conservation easement donors 
permanently relinquish the right to 
intensively develop their property; 
the donation is made to an easement 
"holder," typically a non-profit land 
trust like The Nature Conservancy or 
a state body like the Virginia Out- 
doors Foundation, the Department of 
Forestry, or the Department of Game 
& Inland Fisheries. These donations 
lessen the land's market value, which 
is based on its "highest and best 
use" — such as commercially devel- 
opable real estate — by limiting its de- 
velopment potential in favor of pro- 
tecting specified conservation values. 

Landowners who donate conser- 
vation easements as charitable gifts 
for public benefit can generally claim 
both federal income tax deductions 
and state income tax credits. Title and 
all other rights in the property — 
rights to sell, gift, and bequeath — re- 
main with the landowner, as does the 
right to use the land in any way that 
doesn't harm its recognized conser- 
vation values. 

Attributes that pose attractive 
opportunities for easements include 
farms, forests, wildlife habitat, his- 
toric areas such as battlefields, prop- 
erty of particularly scenic beauty en- 
joyed by the public, outdoor recre- 
ation areas, and property contribut- 




* II 



♦ Governor Kaine's 400,000-acre 
land conservation initiative and 
statewide database, managed by 
the Virginia Department of 
Conservation and Recreation. 
Virginia is well on its way toward 
that conservation goal! 

Go to: 

To find a land trust in your area, 
go to: 

♦ For information on conservation 
easements, the tax credit program, 

and the DVD shown here, 
"Your Land Legacy: 
An Introduction to 
Conservation Easements 
in Virginia," contact 
Conservation Partners, 
LLC, at (540) 464- 
1899, P.O. Box 152, 
Lexington, VA 24450, 
or visit: 


♦ Estate & Gift Tax Benefits: The 
donation of a qualifying conser- 
vation easement will not have 
gift tax consequences and will re- 
move the value attributable to 
the easement from the donor's 
estate for estate tax purposes. An 
additional exclusion of up to 40% 
of the value of the land under 
easement from estate tax may be 
available as well. 

♦ Federal Charitable Income Tax 
Deduction: Generally equal to 
the value of the easement (see 
below), the deduction can be 
used to reduce the donor's "ad- 
justed gross income" by up to 
50% per year (or 100% for tax- 
payers making 50% or more of 
their income from farming or 
forestry during the year of dona- 
tion) for sixteen years or until the 
easement value is used up. 

♦ Virginia Land Preservation In- 
come Tax Credit: The state tax 
credit can be used to offset the 
donor's Virginia income tax lia- 
bility dollar-for-dollar, and any 
unused credit can be transferred 
by gift or sale to other Virginia 
taxpayers. This ability to sell the 
credit for cash makes it particu- 
larly attractive to easement 
donors who do not have signifi- 
cant Virginia income tax liability. 

How Conservation 
Easements Work 

Here is an example illustrating 
the benefits an easement donor 
might realize from the Virginia land 
preservation tax credit. Dave and 
Debbie Jones have a 500-acre farm 
valued at $2,000,000 near rapidly 
growing Winchester. The Joneses 
raise hay beans, and beef cattle, and 
their farm also includes a consider- 
able acreage of hardwood forest 
which is selectively logged and is 
home to bear, deer, turkey, migrating 
songbirds and other wildlife. An avid 
fly-fisherman, Dave Jones fences his 
cattle from the trout stream that flows 
through the farm. The farm is visible 
from two state roads and offers a 
pleasant view to motorists. The Jone- 
ses have been approached several 
times by real estate speculators eager 
to subdivide their property, but hop- 
ing to keep the farm in the family 
they have rebuffed all offers. Aside 
from the land itself they have little 
else in the way of real assets. 

The Jones property has signifi- 
cant conservation values: farm and 
forestland, wildlife habitat, water re- 
sources, and scenic assets. Working 
with a conservation advisory organi- 
zation, the couple chooses to pre- 
serve their family farm through a 
conservation easement which allows 
for the future construction of a guest 

ing to a riparian buffer zone along a 
stream, creek or river. Riparian ease- 
ments are particularly suitable for 
stringing together intact pieces of 
forested habitat by providing vege- 
tated wildlife corridors for such far- 
ranging species as the white-tailed 
deer and the wild turkey. The larger 
and more intact a property is, and the 
nearer it is to encroaching develop- 
ment, the more likely it will have 
higher conservation value, though 
acreage alone will not necessarily be 
a determinant. 

Recognizing that easement do- 
nation and the protection of open 
spaces is in the public interest, the 
federal and state governments offer a 
number of tax incentives to landown- 
ers seeking to preserve their land 
from development: 


Tax Advantages 

Virginia Land Preservation Tax Credits 

$1,000,000 = land value pre-easement 

$ 600,000 = land value post-easement 

$ 400,000 = easement value (EV) 

$ 160,000 = state income tax credit (40% of EV) 

Credit is good for the year of donation and the 10 following years. 
Maximum credit use is $100,000/year/taxpayer (seller or buyer); 
very high-income married couples may be able to use $200,000/year. 
Some or all of the credit may be sold for cash to other Virginia taxpayers. 

Federal Income Tax Deduction 

Easement Value (EV) deductible from Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) 
@ 50%/year for year of donation and 15 following years. 
Donor's EV is $400,000. 

Donor makes $100,000 in 2008 

$50,000 is deductible from donor's AGI in 2008 (50% of AGI). 
$350,000 of the EV is left for deduction. 

Donor makes $100,000 in 2009 

$50,000 is deductible from donor's AGI in 2009 (50% of AGI). 
$300,000 of EV is left for deduction. 

Donor makes $200,000 in 2010 

$100,000 is deductible from donor's AGI in 2010 (50% of AGI). 
$200,000 of EV is left for deduction. 

Donor makes $450,000 in 2011 

Only $200,000 is deductible from donor's 
reached his EV total. 

cottage near their house, the expan- 
sion of their current home, and the 
construction of two more houses and 
cottages or garage apartments else- 
where on the property. The easement, 
which is consistent with the county's 
comprehensive plan, allows for the 
division of the property into as many 
as three parcels but precludes most 
commercial uses other than farming 
and forestry. Hunting, fishing, hik- 
ing, riding and other traditional out- 
door uses will continue unabated. 

The Joneses' appraiser estimates 
that the easement will reduce the 
value of their land from $2,000,000 
before the donation to $1,200,000 af- 
terwards; thus, the "value" of their 
easement is the difference, or 
$800,000. Assuming that their ease- 
ment and appraisal were drafted by 
knowledgeable professionals and 
qualify under applicable law, the 
Jones family will be entitled to a 
transferable land preservation tax 
credit equal to 40% of their easement 
value of $800,000, or $320,000. Most 
easement donors use some of their 
credit to pay their state income taxes 
and sell the rest through professional 

Myths About 
Conservation Easements 

There are several myths about 
conservation easements that deserve 
to be dispelled. The first falsehood is 
that by donating an easement the 
landowner is somehow "locking up" 
his land for future uses. In fact, the 
only land-use right being given up is 
a right that people who love their 
land don't want anyway: the right to 
destroy what is special about it. 

Another myth is that easement 
donation means that the government 
will be taking over the land. The job 
of the easement holder, whether it's a 
government agency or a land trust, is 
to ensure that the terms of the deed of 
easement protecting the property's 
conservation values are honored 
over the long term, usually 
through an annual site 
visit. As we've seen, 
title to the property 
under easement re- 
mains with the 


©Gregory J. Pels 

Finally, the decision to allow 
public access to property being 
placed under easements resides en- 
tirely with the landowner. There is no 
requirement for public access in the 
great majority of easements. 

The Last Best Chance to 

Preserve Virginia's 

Quality of Life 

Conservation easements allow 
landowners to pick and choose what 
uses will be allowed on their proper- 

ty now and in the future by placing 
restrictions on undesirable practices. 
Easements are flexible agreements 
that specifically tailor land uses ac- 
cording to each donor's individual 
preferences. Working foresters might 
want to retain the right to selectively 
log stands of timber on their property 
while being amenable to restrictions 
on future building. Farm owners de- 
siring to continue farming or grazing 
may give up similar development 
rights and may derive further bene- 
fits by pledging to follow agricultural 

practices supporting wildlife habitat 
and clean water. Hunting clubs will 
want to maintain food plots and 
forested tracts to maximize wildlife 
diversity. The terms of a conservation 
easement's final appearance are ne- 
gotiable as long as the property's 
identified conservation values are 
protected in perpetuity. 

Conservation easements are the 
most advantageous means for pri- 
vate landowners to retain ownership 
of their property while making cer- 
tain that it remains protected for their 

Portrait of an 
Easement Donor 

Jim Wilson owns two forested proper- 
ties in Franklin and Floyd counties. An 
ex-trustee of the Western Virginia Land 
Trust, former Director of the American 
Chestnut Foundation, and an "amateur 

forester at heart," Jim remembers the 
region when it was still undiscovered. 
"What I thought would never be 
changed has now been broken up into 5 
or 10-acre lots," he says. "I was hunting 
in an area I'd walked over all my life 
when I came across all these clear-cuts 
and new home sites." Jim clearly saw 
that the changing landscape of his 
childhood was in urgent need of protec- 
tion. Jim and his Brittany spaniels are 
avid grouse hunters, and he had long 
dreamed of "owning land where I 
wouldn't have to ask anyone's permis- 
sion to hunt, hike, or enjoy the aesthet- 
ics of nature." 

Toward that end he purchased two 
parcels of forestland, one of 300 acres 
and another of 900, and placed conser- 
vation easements on them in 2002 and 
2007 with the Virginia Outdoors Foun- 
dation as holder. Aside from a cabin and 


some cleared areas for food plots, Jim 
has done little to alter his property 
other than to selectively cut timber in 
furtherance of a wildlife management 
plan. Today Jim and his children and 
grandchildren enjoy a magnificent 
hunting preserve whose preservation 
contributes to scenic views from the 
Blue Ridge Parkway and helps to main- 
tain a healthy population of brook trout 
in Rennet Bag Creek, which flows 
through the property. 

I asked Jim about his motivation 
for donating conservation easements on 
his property; his reply was a heartfelt 
testimony to why hunters want to pre- 
serve their land. "I felt like crying when 
I saw habitat being destroyed for subdi- 
visions," he said, "and I didn't want the 
same fate to happen to the other wood- 
lands in the vicinity. Now I know it will 
be here forever." 


ikf ■ 

4 • t 


descendants for decades and even 
centuries to come. The rolling farm- 
lands, forested mountains, coldwater 
streams and coastal wetlands that 
make Virginia what it is are being lost 
to us at a shocking rate. Each year 
America's birthplace becomes a little 
more like those other parts of the 
country we'd like to a void... destroy- 
ing one locale we move on to the next, 
stay for a time, then blunder off to the 
next unspoiled countryside, leaving 
in our wake another metastasizing 
sprawl of asphalt and concrete, neon 
and brushed aluminum that soon be- 
comes merely another place to escape 

We are abundantly fortunate in 
Virginia to have the most generous 
tax incentive program in the coun- 
try — a recognition on the part of our 
elected officials that our wildlife and 
rural heritage have meaning and dig- 
nity. Donors of conservation ease- 
ments not only honor themselves and 
their families with their generosity; 
by preserving signature examples of 
the natural splendor we have inherit- 
ed, they provide all Virginians with at 
least a vestige of the wide world that 
was once all around us. □ 

William H. Funk is an easement specialist 
with Conservation Partners, LLC, a free- 
lance conservation writer, and a member of 
the Virginia State Bar. Mr. Funk has previ- 
ously written about wildlife and wilderness 
issues for Virginia Wildlife. 


v ] \ /Naturally 




A Loudoun County 

School Embraces 

Place-Based Education 

photos and story by Gail Brown 

O I — C lue Ridge Middle School 
fpU (BRMS) administrator 
^ — 7 Marlene Jefferson arrives 
early at the overlook on the days the 
6th graders experience the Ap- 
palachian Trail (AT). Locating herself 
by the rocky outcropping, a short dis- 
tance from the Bear's Den Hostel, she 
waits to greet her students and wit- 
ness their reaction as they step to the 
edge of the precipice, lift their eyes, 
and take in the valley and mountains 
that stretch out below. "It takes their 
breath away," states Jefferson. 
"The whole point is to impress them 
with nature. When you hear them 
gasp in wonderment, you know 
you 've reached your goal. " 

There are goals to be reached 
back on campus as well. Science is 
king at BRMS, and little wonder, as 
daily field experiences are possible in 
their outdoor classroom — an area 
which includes a pond, fields, 
woods, turtles and lizards, lots of 
bugs, and endless opportunities to 
interact with nature. There, on a regu- 
lar basis, students can conduct scien- 
tific research, sketch and create 
works of art, write in journals, or just 
sit and enjoy being part of the natural 

On Wednesday, the best day of 
the week at BRMS, students partici- 

Hikers learn that white blazes mark the Ap- 
palachian Trail; blue blazes mark side trails. 




pate in any one of over 60 clubs, sev- 
eral of which are dedicated to envi- 
ronmental studies. The Wolf Club, 
the Landscaping Club, the Bird 
Watching Club, and the Save Our 
Snakes Club allow students to build 
connections with the wild things they 
find so appealing. Connections are 
also forged with peers and adults 
who share similar interests in the nat- 
ural resources of their community. 

The Save Our Snakes Club, led 
by science teacher Dave Snyder, has 
become one of the most popular 
clubs at school. "This club got its start 
because one student came to me and 
asked how to find snakes. Our stu- 
dents always seem to want to learn 
more, and I like sharing my interest in 
snakes, so forming the club was a nat- 
ural progression. I wanted to teach 
the kids safety procedures and how 
to identify non-poisonous from poi- 
sonous snakes," says Snyder. 

"I didn't want them to turn over 
a rock and get bitten. The thing I can 
say with confidence is that the kids 
who have been in the snake club have 
more confidence in their ability to 
identify different species of 
snakes. . .and what to watch out for in 
regards to poisonous snakes and 
safety practices." This, of course, is 
not only helpful to his students but 
reduces the number of snakes need- 
lessly killed. 

Then there's science class, where 
the brave as well as the wary enter 
cautiously, each knowing they will 
share their space with an equally 
skeptical and curious snake. Here, 
both students and snakes show a pro- 
clivity toward making friends. Ac- 
cording to Snyder, "The first thing the 
kids do when entering the classroom 
is check out the snakes. They are ex- 
cited to have them there." What stu- 
dents learn is both helpful and inter- 


Views from the Appalachian Trail can change how you see other things. 


Above and below: The school's outdoor classroom includes a pond and wooded area for study. 


Students take a break, but "leave no trace. 

Helpful tips include the fact that 
the snakes they see in the water are 
not water moccasins as many people 
surmise. The two venomous snakes 
to watch out for in their community 
are copperheads and timber rattlers. 
Yet, all snakes bite, so the fact that stu- 
dents learn to treat these reptiles with 
the respect they deserve keeps both 
students and reptiles safe. 

The kids also enjoy learning 
about the characteristics of different 
snakes. When one student saw a hog- 
nosed snake, everyone learned this 
particular snake can act like a cobra. 
And, not unlike a student who "lost" 
his assignment, the hog-nose snake 
has contingency plans: It plays dead 
in an effort to get out of tight situa- 
tions. But now (because everyone 
knows better), when queried about 
their homework, Snyder's kids can't 
get away with their favorite: "The 
snake ate it!" 

The focus on appreciating and 
protecting natural resources at BRMS 
began in 2007 after several staff mem- 
bers received training (and then 
trained their peers) in the philosophy 
of A Trail to Every Classroom. The staff 

The Bird Watching Club is one of over 60 clubs at Blue Ridge Middle School. 

came together to stand behind the 
shared goal of promoting "place- 
based" education — a process that fo- 
cuses on environmental steward- 
ship, civic responsibility, and local 
history as the foundation on which to 
build knowledge in all subject areas. 

And what better place for stu- 
dents to connect with the history and 
beauty of their community than on 
the famed Appalachian Trail? 
Revered for its beauty, respected for 
its formidable challenges, and 
renowned for its place in our nation's 



history, the AT provides numerous 
opportunities to meet and conquer 
both physical and mental challenges. 
During field work, students learn 
"leave no trace" practices, evaluate 
the water quality of a mountain 
stream, study trail maintenance and 
safety strategies (when lost, hug a 
tree!), and sketch what their senses 
tell them is important. 

On some days all planned activi- 
ties stop if long-distance hikers 
("thru-hikers") are willing to take the 
time to share their adventures at im- 
promptu gatherings. Questions such 
as: "How can you hike so far and so 
long?" and "What made you decide 
to go off on such an adventure?" top 
the list of things kids want to know. 
Although the kids hike approximate- 
ly 2 of the over 2,000-mile-long trail, 
they can relate to the challenges and 
rewards offered by longer journeys. 
They see their hike to the stream to 
monitor the water as their own chal- 
lenges faced and conquered. Speak- 
ing of their trek Amanda says, "It was 
a tiring hike, but I did it!" 

The benefits of learning about life 
on the trail don't stop at the overlook 
but are carried home to share with 
family members. Teacher Inez Lem- 
mert shared that, after a trip to the AT, 
one of her "quieter" students went 
home and said that she wanted to be- 
come a thru-hiker. This brought "a 
new realization between parent and 
child, bringing both closer to nature 
as well as closer to each other." 

Following his trip another stu- 
dent said, "I have to bring my dad 
here!" A short time later, father and 
son enjoyed a day and night of hiking 
and camping on the AT. 

Have these activities changed the 
students, their behaviors, and their 
relationships with the natural world 
and their community? Marlene Jef- 
ferson believes these experiences 
provide opportunities for students to 
mature. "Experiences on the trail 
help students evaluate what they be- 
lieve will be important when they are 
out on their own." 

But sometimes change is less dra- 
matic. Camouflaged by busy sched- 
ules and holidays, it arrives unno- 
ticed, yet is powerful nonetheless, 

No matter the direction, adventure awaits you on the Appalachian Trail. 


The Snake Club was formed because one student asked a question. 

like teacher Dave Snyder's wry observation: "By the end of the year few stu- 
dents, if any, claim seats close to the door." □ 

Gail Brown is a retired principal for Chesterfield County Public Schools. She is a lifelong 
learner and educator, and her teaching and administrative experiences in grades K-12 
have taught her that project-based environmental programs teach science standards, pro- 
mote core values, and provide exciting educational experiences for the entire community. 



Be Wild! Ik Wile! Gt 

story and illustrations 
by Spike Knuth 

uddle, or dabbling, ducks are 
- so-called because they feed 
J|i mainly at the surface of shallow- 
er, generally smaller, or marshy 
water bodies. Frequently they feed 
off the bottom by tipping on their 
heads to reach it. With tails up, they 
"tipple" or "dabble" with their feet to 
maintain balance. They are capable 
of diving on occasion but not very 
deep or for long periods of time. They 
have larger, wider wings and simply 
fly by pushing themselves into 
the air with a down-sweep 
of their wings, giving 
the impression they 
are jumping out of 
the water. Puddle 
ducks are mainly 
vegetarians, feeding 
on roots, stems, leaves and 
seeds of aquatic and terrestrial 
plants and grains, as well as insects, 
small mussels, crustaceans, leeches, 



and fish. Their legs are located in the 
middle of their bodies, enabling them 
to walk fairly easily on dry surfaces, 
with bodies held almost parallel to 
the ground when they stand. Puddle 
ducks are colorful, especially the 
males. Females reveal mostly basic 
grays, browns, tans, whites, and 
buffs, with V-shaped patterns, 
streaks, and spots. Both sexes have 
colored speculums. They tend to fly 
in smaller groups than their diving 
cousins. Most puddle ducks nest in 

grasses usually close to (but some- 
times away from) marshes or ponds. 
The wood duck is an exception. 


(Anas platyrln/nchos) 

The hardy, adaptable mallard is 
the best known of all ducks. It domes- 
ticates easily, and is probably the 
original stock of most domestic 
breeds. Commonly called "green- 
head," the drake is recognized by this 
shiny green feature. The hen is capa- 
ble of emitting the popular "quack," 
while the male's voice is a softer, 
higher pitched "cray." Wild mallards 
nest over most of the U.S. and Cana- 
da, with a preference for prairie pot- 
holes. They normally nest in reeds or 
grass near water. Truly wild mallards 
depend on more specialized habitat, 
while expanding populations of 
semi-wild mallards are seen in parks 
and are apt to build anywhere. 

American Black Duck 

(Anas rubripes) 

The black duck is unique to the 
eastern half of the United States. Both 
sexes are similar in color. A dark, 
chocolate brown body appears al- 
most black, with a lighter, buffy- 

American Black Duck 


y lL 

brown head and neck, and silvery 
white and gray underwings. Their 
speculums are a deep, purplish-blue. 
Black ducks nest mainly in east- 
ern Canada and along the northeast- 
ern U.S. coast, but as far west as Man- 
itoba. One thing different about this 
duck is that it commonly nests in 
forests, near lakes or rivers. A very 
hardy duck, it winters from the Great 
Lakes and New England south; 
mainly in the mid-Atlantic. Black 
ducks feed on aquatic plants and 
seeds — adding clams and snails to 
their diets in coastal habitats. Due to 
loss of habitat, especially encroach- 
ment into historically coastal habi- 
tats, and interbreeding with mal- 


Northern Pintail 

lards, black duck numbers have been 
down below the long-term average. 


(Anas strepera) 

In recent decades gadwalls have 
become a common wintering duck in 
Virginia marshes. The gadwall is 
found in all continental flyways and 

worldwide, except in South 
America and Australia. It 
is gray often appear- 
ing dark. A good 
field mark on the 
water is its 
well defined 
black rear-end 
against an overall 
gray appearance. The 
speculum of the gadwall is 
black, gray and white. Above that is a 
chestnut red shoulder patch. The fe- 
male is similar, but paler. In North 
America gadwalls breed primarily in 
the prairies of Canada and the north 
central states, although they have es- 
tablished a breeding population in 
the Atlantic Flyway. Adult gadwalls 
tend to be more vegetarian than other 
ducks; about 90 percent of their diet 
consists of aquatic vegetation. Gad- 

walls seldom gather in large flocks. 
They usually move in small groups of 
up to a dozen birds and will occasion- 
ally travel with widgeons. 

Northern Pintail 

(Anas acuta) 

The pintail regularly winters in 
small populations along the Atlantic 
Flyway from New Jersey south to 
Florida. Males are easily recognized 
on the water by their long, slim white 
neck, long tail, and a grayish body 
with a dark brown head. The females 
are basically brown but also have the 
long slender neck and a shorter, but 
pointed, tail. In flight the pintail's 
wings are decidedly pointed, with 
the male's long, white neck and 
breast very distinctive. Pintails are 
early spring migrants and nesters, ar- 
riving in the north central states and 
Canada where they seek out nesting 
sites in prairie potholes during late 
March and early April. They nest in 



American Widgeon 

grasslands, sometimes a mile from 
water. Pintails travel all major fly- 
ways to winter in coastal areas or in- 
land marshes south of the frost line. 

American Widgeon 

{Anas americana) 

The widgeon is a medium-sized 
duck, easily identifiable by its white 
wing patches, white patch on the top 
of its head, white belly, and dark 
pointed tail. Its grayish cheeks are 
separated from its white "pate" by a 
mask of blackish-green. The females 
have a grayish head, spotted like the 
male but with only a dark eye area 
and no patch. Their flight style has 
been likened to a flock of pigeons, as 
they fly in compact groups moving 
quickly and erratically, twisting and 
turning on their sides. Their call is a 
series of soft, peeping whistles not 
unlike a brood of chicks. They have a 

feeding habit of 
waiting for coots or 
diving ducks to sur- 
face with a morsel of 
aquatic vegetation, to 
quickly grab it away. 

Blue-winged Teal 

(Anas discors) 

Blue-winged teal are among the 
earliest fall migrants — flocking up as 
early as late August, and moving 

Blue-winged Teal 

breast marked with round black 
spots and a white flank. Both sexes 
have chalky blue forewings with 
glossy green and black speculums. 
The wings are a good field mark in 
September, because the drakes re- 
semble hens at this time. They are just 
coming through molt and are in their 
eclipse plumage. Blue-winged teal 
regain their breeding colors in late 
November or early December. 

Green-winged Teal 

(Anas crecca) 

The green-winged teal is the 
smallest of our puddle ducks — only 
about 15 inches in length. The duck 
flies in tight, wheeling formations, 
twisting and turning with great pre- 
cision. The male doesn't show any 
distinguishing field marks in flight 
from a distance; it just looks dark! 
However, if the sunlight hits it right, 

south by September to Central and 
South America. They are great travel- 
ers. One teal, banded in Minnesota, 
flew to Peru in one month — a dis- 
tance of 4,000 miles! The blue- 
winged teal is one of 
our smallest ducks, 
measuring about 16 
inches in length. 
In spring the 
drake has the 
dark purplish- 
gray head with 
the distinctive 
large, white cres- 
cent marks in front of 
its eyes. At this time its 
upper parts are dark, 
with a pink-cinnamon 

Green-winged Teal 

he'll show a chestnut-colored head 
with a dark, glossy-green mask, as 
well as glossy green and black specu- 
lum. The male looks just like the fe- 
male early in fall as it goes through its 
eclipse plumage. The green-winged 
teal breeds across the continent, from 
the northernmost states north to the 
Arctic tree line. It is the symbol of 
Ducks Unlimited's youth program, 
"The Greenwings." 

Northern Shoveler 
(Anas clypeata) 

The shoveler is a small duck with 
a short-necked, pointed wing ap- 
pearance. During spring, the drake's 
dark green head, chestnut-red belly 


and sides, and white chest are very 
distinctive. Both sexes have light blue 
shoulder patches with black and 
green speculums, similar to the blue- 
winged teal. They sit low on the 
water, with bill pointing downward 
as if too heavy to hold up. They fly er- 
ratically — somewhat like teal — often 
making sudden downward move- 
ments. Even in flight they seem to 
carry their bill in a downward slant. 

By far, the most outstanding fea- 
ture of the shoveler is its large, spoon- 
like bill; it is often called "spoonbill." 
The shoveler's bill has very pro- 
nounced, comb-like teeth, called 
lamellae, along the edges of its upper 
and lower mandibles. These lamellae 
are specially designed for feeding on 
bottom debris of shallow waters or 
on the surface, with the purpose of 
straining out food particles. 

Wood Duck 

(Aix sponsa) 

The wood duck drake is a beauti- 
ful creature, showing a crested head 
of iridescent green and purple with 
thin white lines and a white forked 
throat patch. Its lower neck and 
breast are rich purple-chestnut, 
marked with white. Its sides are yel- 
low-gray marked with fine, black, 
wavy lines, and its breast and sides 
are separated by a large black cres- 
cent-shaped mark preceded by a 
white one. The female is beautiful in 
her own right. She is basically gray to 


Northern Shoveler 

gray-brown, with white markings on 
her sides and a white tear-shaped eye 
ring. The wood duck has many local 
names, including: "acorn duck" be- 
cause of its favorite food; "summer 
duck" because it often nests in the 
same range that it winters in; 
"squealer" due to its unusual call; 
and "swamp duck" due to the type 
of habitat it favors. "Tree duck 
and its common name 
"wood duck" are appro- 
priate names as well, since 
it is always associated with trees 
and woodlands. The woodie is 
native to North America. Its 
range covers primarily the de- 
ciduous forests of the eastern 
half of the United States, 
mainly in the Atlantic 
and Mississippi fly- 
ways. Wood ducks 
favor brushy- 
edged or wood- 
ed freshwater 
ponds, lakes, 
and streams, hard- 
wood bottoms of oak 
and gum-cypress swamps, 
and other mast producing woods. 
Tree cavities are preferred nesting 
sites, especially old woodpecker 
holes, although it has taken readily to 
manmade nesting boxes. Once 
hatched, the young must jump 
out of their high-rise home, 
bouncing unhurt off the 
ground like little balls of cot- 
Wood Duck 

ton. In fall, juveniles and adults wan- 
der about in small groups, seldom as- 
sociating with other species. They 
feed mainly on acorns and other nuts, 
but also a variety of plant seeds 
and wild fruits. Wood ducks are 
adept at threading their 
way through the trees, 
swiftly and surely. Their 
call is an almost piercing, un- 
duck-like squeal of "hoo-eeek, 
hoo-eeek." □ 

Spike Kmitli is an avid naturalist and wildlife 
artist. For over 30 years his artwork and writing 
have appeared in Virginia Wildlife. Spike is 
also a member of the Virginia Outdoor Writers 

Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! is a reg- 
ular feature that highlights Virginia's 
Wildlife Action Plan, which is designed 
to unite natural resources agencies, 
sportsmen and women, conservation- 
ists and citizens in a common vision 
for the conservation of the Common- 
wealth's wildlife and habitats in which 
they live. To learn more or to become 
involved with this new program 


2008 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for current infor- 
mation and registration on workshops go 
to the "Upcoming Events" page on the De- 
partment's Web site at www.HuntFish- or call 804-367-7800. 

November 1: Shenandoah Valley 
Audubon Birding Festival, War Memo- 
rial Building in Winchester. Free, 10 

November 15: Firearms deer season 

December 6: Educational Rabbit Hunt- 
ing Workshop, Kennedy's Orchard, 
Bedford County. 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. 

December 6: Women's Pheasant Hunt- 
ing Workshop, Remington. For more 
information contact Sharon Townley 
at 540-439-2683 or email shady- □ 

Christmas Bird Count 

The world's longest-running 
bird survey, the annual Christmas 
Bird Count (CBC) census, dates back 
to Christmas Day 1900. During the 
Christmas 2000 count, 1,412 volun- 
teers participated in Virginia and 
over 50,000 participated across the 
Americas. Each "count circle" has a 
15-mile diameter (about 177 square 
miles). Volunteers count all birds that 
they see within their assigned por- 
tion of the count circle on one desig- 
nated count day. The entire circle is 
counted on one day, which always 
falls between December 14 and Janu- 
ary 5. Some volunteers begin early in 
the morning, sometimes just after 
midnight, to count owls, which can 
be difficult to find and count during 
daylight hours. Typically, at least ten 
volunteers count a circle, but the 
number of counters can reach the 

Here in Virginia, about 42 circles 
typically are surveyed, although not 
all circles are counted every year. 
They cover most regions of the state, 
but are fewest in the Piedmont. Vol- 
unteer turnout is especially strong in 
Northern Virginia and in Shenan- 
doah National Park. 

CBC data are used by researchers 
for many purposes: to study bird 
population numbers and distribu- 
tion across time; to compare with 
other data sets to determine the effec- 
tiveness of different survey types; 
and to investigate communities of 
different species, such as winter bird 
diversity in different areas, or during 
different weather conditions. The 
data collected by volunteers every 
year are invaluable. The information 
contributes to the longest-running 
and most geographically -broad data 
set in ornithology, which allows re- 
searchers to monitor population 
trends and distribution over long 
time periods and across vast dis- 

If you'd like to participate in one 
of Virginia's Christmas Bird Counts, 
go to the Audubon CBC Web site at 
http: / / / Bird / cbc / 
and get involved! □ 

by Beth Hester 

Preparing Fish and Wild Game 
Edited by Don Oster, David Maas, Jill 
Anderson etal. 

2000 Creative Publishing Interna- 

ISBN: 0-86573-125-X 
Hardcover with color photographs 

"Today, more and more people choose to 
include wild game in their diet. For those 

who enjoy spending a day on the water or 
in the field, bringing home a meal of fresh 
fish or game is a welcome bonus. And 
when given the opportunity, those who 
don't fish or hunt also like to share in the 
bounty of the wild harvest. Compared to 
domestic meat, wild game is lower in fat 
and calories, and richer in flavor. " 

-The Editors 

The first nip of crisp autumn air 
signals the advent of the holiday sea- 
son. Friends and family gather to 
renew relationships, share good 
times, and enjoy traditional foods. 
Fresh fish and game are a distinct 
treat at any time of the year, but in 
many circles, celebrating the wild 
harvest is an integral part of any holi- 
day feast. 

This season, try a few new dish- 
es, courtesy of Creative Publishing, 
where the editors have thoughtfully 
assembled one of the most compre- 
hensive fish and game cookbooks 
available. An abundance of simple 
and sumptuous recipes grace the 
pages of this handsome volume 
which includes: Pecan Turkey with 
Maple Sauce, Apple-Ginger Ruffed 
Grouse, Rum-Spiced Venison Chops, 
Grill-Smoked Duck, Perch-Bacon 
Bundles, Island-Style Salmon, and 
Trout Party Dip. 

Yet, Preparing Fish and Wild Game 
is a step above your average cook- 
book; it's a user-friendly guide cover- 
ing all aspects of fish and game 
preparation. New hunters and an- 
glers can learn the best ways to fillet, 
trim, or butterfly a fish, properly por- 
tion game birds, prepare a rabbit, 
make sausage, or field dress a deer by 
following the clear, step-by-step in- 
structions. From proper game care to 
cooking and storing the harvest, 
color photos accompany each tech- 
nique. You can even learn how to 
pickle fish! 

Especially gratifying is the fact 



that the illustrated dressing and 
cooking techniques make it easy to 
use every viable part of the animal so 
that fur or feathers can later be used 
at the fly tying bench. 

Whether your tool of choice is a 
well-seasoned cast iron skillet, roast- 
ing pan, smoker, or wok, there are 
recipes that will appeal to those 
lucky enough to enjoy the hospitali- 
ty of your table this year, and for 
many years to come. □ 

Congratulations to Trae Jones of Glen Allen, 
shown here with a buck he took in Marina 
during the first day of black powder season 
last year. According to Trae, generous 
landowner Cory Atack gave up his deer 
stand to the young hunter that particular 

He continues, "After sitting for a while I 
passed up three does; then took my trophy 
buck. I've learned already that being pa- 
tient pays off. " Trae enjoyed the excitement 
shared by his hunting partners, especially 
his granddad, Robert Melton, who had the 
deer mounted. 

"This was the happiest moment of my life. 
There were a lot of tears of joy over this 
hunt," says Trae. 


Don't Forget 
Hunters for the Hungry 

A friendly reminder about the 

critical role you play in keeping 

the Hunters for the Hungry 

program alive and well. 

Last year, this organization pro- 
vided nearly 363,500 pounds of 
venison to Virginia families in 
need. That amounts to 1.4 million 
four-ounce servings of nutritious, 
low-fat meat going to communi- 
ties across the Commonwealth. 

Offers of assistance and donations 

can be made by calling 

1-800-352-4868, or by emailing 


The deadline for submitting photographs for 

the 2008 VirginiaWildlife 

Photography Contest is November 3,2008. 

Winning photographs will appear in the special 

March 2009 issue of VirginiaWildlife magazine. 

For more information, visit the 

Department's Web site at 


Buy Your Lifetime License 
* 1-804-17-1076 


W Find Game 

Find Game is an interactive Web-based 
map viewer designed by theVirginia De- 
partment of Game and Inland Fisheries 
to provide better and more current in- 
formation about hunting land location 
and access in Virginia. Find Game allows 
users to map hunting areas by location 
and/or by game species, along with hunt- 
ing quality by species, land manager con- 
tact information, site description, facili- 
ties available, access information and as- 
sociated Web links.To learn more about 
Find Game visit 

Attention Cooks 

Grab Your 
Measuring Spoons! 

The ever-popular recipe column 

that ran in this magazine for 

many, many years will be 

re-introduced with the 

January 2009 issue. 

"I like to leave the treestand up 
for a few days to let the deer 
get used to it." 



Its once again time to purchase a new Virginia Wildlife calendar For 
more than 20 years the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has 
been publishing one of the most visually stunning and informative 
wildlife calendars in the country. 

The 2009 edition of the Virginia Wildlife calendar highlights many of the 
most sought after game and fish species in the state. Virginia hunters, an- 
glers, and wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the rich colors and composition 
of the 1 2 monthly photo spreads. 

The calendar is full of useful tidbits for the outdoors lover — including 
wildlife behavior, preferred fishing and hunting times, hunting seasons, state 
fish records, and much more! Life history information is provided for each 
species featured. 

Virginia Wildlife calendars make great holiday gifts and are still being of- 
fered at the bargain price of only $ 1 each. 

Quantities are limited, so order yours now! Make your check payable to 
'Treasurer of Virginia" and send to: Vrgmia Wildlife Calendar, PO. Box 
1 I 1 04, Richmond, Virginia 23230- II 04. To pay by VISA or MasterCard, you 
can order the calendar online at: on our secure site. 
Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery 

Representatives from state & local agencies 
along with local and federal political repre- 
sentatives cut the ribbon to officially open 
the Willis Wharf Platform. 

New Wildlife Viewing 
Platform Dedicated 

By Stephen Living 

On Virginia's Eastern Shore, a three- 
year project was successfully conclud- 
ed with the dedication of the Willis 
Wharf Wildlife Viewing Platform on 
September 19th. The project began in 
2005 with a grant from the Department 
of Environmental Quality's Coastal 
Zone Management (CZM) Program to 
enhance the opportunities for tourists 
and residents to appreciate the natural 
beauty of Willis Wharf. The agency's 
Watchable Wildlife Program managed 
the overall project, but from inception 


to completion, a variety of partners 
brought unique insight and skills to the 

Willis Wharf is an unincorporated 
village on the seaside of Northampton 
County. Economic activity here centers 
around the abundant shellfish found in 
the relatively pristine waters of Parting 
Creek. The creek supports a number of 
watermen as well as commercial aqua- 
culturists, and the village is a designat- 
ed stop along the "Virginia Birding and 
Wildlife Trail" as well as the "Seaside 
Water Trail." 

Willis Wharf provides outstanding 
opportunities to see coastal wildlife. 
The same waters that nourish the fish- 
eries and aquaculture operations at- 
tract huge numbers of birds during the 
spectacular fall migration. In fact, year 
round a number of species frequent the 
marshes and mudflats visible from the 
banks of the creek. Bald eagles, royal 
terns, marbled godwits and whimbrels 
can all be seen hunting and foraging 

Those interested in taking in the 
wildlife could do so before the platform 
was built, but the rocky berm that 
fronts the creek didn't provide firm 
footing for extended study. The goal of 
this project was to provide a fully acces- 
sible, safe location to facilitate wildlife- 
based recreation. Toward this end, proj- 
ect partners convened in 2005 to plan 
the building of a structure that 
would — most importantly — integrate 

well the existing working waterfront 
with the needs of the residents and 
wildlife watchers at Willis Wharf. Plans 
were then designed by DGIF Capital 
Program staff. 

Our appreciation is extended to 
CZM, who provided grant funds as 
well as organization and logistical ex- 
pertise, and to all project partners: Ac- 
comac-Northampton Planning District 
Commission, Northampton County, 
the community of Willis Wharf, and 
Eastern Shore Homecrafters — who 
went above and beyond the work plan 
with extra touches to create a beautiful 
structure. □ 


A2>ucJ(Y/u^te.t 3 3oama/ 

£/ 7ee CJarfeo/i 

/JcA/emA&t \~3-th) ZOO'l 

raditionS ha/e a cocy ofendina ifyoU don t QiVe thew the dOTe and attention 
they deSerVe, arid dertajn/y openina day iS OS WUdh oAout tradition OS it is 
aAout fc//l/TQ dudks. &0e coere a// aui/ty : we, wy fat/let and wy ArotherSy in 
al/ocoino SeVera/ years to paSS coithout sharma the SOwe A/'rnd on the -first 
wiornina of dudk SeaSon. 

'The ujee^S /eadino Up to fi/oVewAer \rf-th cuere torturous . X donStant/y foUnd 
wySe/f /ookna to the sky for SianS of waratina oirds. One eVenina in early 
//oVewoer X Shotted aAout fifty wof/ards headina South oVer X-^ 
totoard the ^idhwond s^y/ine as X coaS drivina to eat dinner at wy in-ZazoS 
house. Xhat siaht on/y Spurred wore upcoard aaZsna. 

fTna/Zy, th& wornina arrived. X cooke frow a fitful nlaht of half -sleep to the 
Swe// ofdoffee Arecoina in the kitdhen of our huntrna d/uA. My father toaS the 
on/y one up. &0e Sat and drank and ta/fced aAout the proSpedts ofth& day. Soon, 
wy brothers acoo^e and coe coere a// decided in Loaders ], you dou/d taste th& &x- 
ditewent in the air . 

XoSSina out the first dedoy of the SeOSon doeSn t differ frow toSSina out 
the last one of the previous SeaSon Aut in the thin/^ina on it. One Speaj^S to the 

days that has/e Aeen and another to the ones to do/rie, and for a wan coho wakes a 
haAit of coajtina out the dark hours before dcuon in ScoawpS and tidal warsheSy 
hop! no for the Sound ofsdreawina colnaS at first /iciht, Aoth are eouaj/y 

~T~hiS wornina coe had a friend a/ona coith his A/adk /aAy cohidh wade we think 
of iJadk- Xcoo SeOSonS ha/e paSSed Srnde he died. X dan Sti// pidture hi/^l Shak'na 
coith adrenal ine, sittina on the SOwe /oa that is noco Aarey /itera/Iy /ookino /><te he 
dou/dn t hand/e one wore Sedond coithout a Aird to pidk Up. X hope thoSe 
iwaoeS rewain coith we for as Zona as X aw 
around, or at /east as Zona as X aw aA/e to wake 

it out to the ScoawpS before day/i^ht. 

At Shootina tiwe the coood dudks dOwe in 
droVeS, and cue fired and fired and fired. Most/y 
wiSSinQy out donnedtina enouah So that coe had a ten 
Aird /iwit Aetcoeen the fiVe of US in fifteen wmuteS . 
fi/orwa//y the A/adk dudks are here at the Aeainnina of the 
SeaSon y out not this year . £*Je took one aadcoa/Z on top 
of our /iwit of cooodieS y and oy % : 20 c<je coere eatina 
Venison Sa&Saoe and &qqS torapped in dorn tort i //as and 
te//ina StorieS oVer another pot ofdoffee. 

/his is a coonderfu/ tiwe of year . 


by Lynda Richardson 

Celebrate the Season With Holiday Light Photography! 

1 J / hen I think about the holidays, 
ww I think about getting together 
with family and friends, hot choco- 
late, snow (skiing), and those cheer- 
ful, colorful lights decorating every- 
thing from office buildings to trees, 
houses, topiaries, and even boats! 
Some of the best times I've ever had 
photographing non-wildlife subjects 
were those that involved getting out 
on a cold winter night and photo- 
graphing festive light displays. 

Hmmmm, you might say. Col- 
ored lights are fun to photograph? 
Well, yes, if you shoot them like I'm 
going to suggest. There are some 
physical and psychological require- 
ments for this though. You will need 
to be able to dance and jump around 
and swirl your arms in the air in pub- 
lic without being embarrassed. Are 
you game? Well then, let's get start- 

First, you need to locate a fabu- 
lous holiday light display. My fa- 
vorite place in Richmond is Lewis 
Ginter Botanical Gardens and their 
awesome annual exhibition of holi- 
day lights, which usually begins in 
late November. Check your local area 
for similar offerings. 

Next, I grab my digital camera, a 
bunch of memory cards, a small 
flashlight, and extra camera batteries. 
You could bring a tripod if you really 
wanted to, but I prefer the "free 
hand" approach for this exercise. 

Travel to your selected location 
and find a light display that really 
captures your eye. Make sure your 
flash is turned off. Set your camera to 
manual (automatic will work too) 
and your ISO tolOO or 200. Try not to 
use an ISO any higher than 400 be- 
cause you might run into "noise" 
problems, which could take away 
from the final results. Get close to the 
lights and get an exposure reading to 
start with. I normally set my camera 
on manual, ISO 100, fll.O at 10 sec- 
onds. The longer the exposure, the 
more fun you can have. 

while still pointing at your subject. 
Shake your booty! The long exposure 
will capture your movements, and 
the resulting images will be awesome 
abstract blurs of color! This is proba- 
bly the only type of photography 
where I laugh out loud the whole 
time I'm shooting. 

Let yourself go! Experiment with 
different body movements, colors, 
and patterns. If anyone asks, just tell 
them you spilled your hot chocolate. 
Now go have fun! D 

"Using my Canon EOS 50 digital camera, a 
35mm focal length lens, and settings of ISO 
of 100, f. 11. Oat 10 seconds, I was able to 
capture this colorful scene of holiday lights at 
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond. 
I made the exposure by standing very still for 
several seconds to hold the background lights 
and then moved my arms up and down at the 
end of the exposure. " ® Lynda Richardson 

Now, point your camera at the 
lights, focus, and release the shutter 
and dance! Swirl your arms around. 
Make zig-zag patterns in the air 

You are invited to submit one to five of your 
best photographs to "Image of the Month/' 
Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, 
4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 
23230-1104. Send original slides, super 
high-quality prints, or high-res 360 dpi jpeg 
files on disk and include a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope or other shipping 
method for return. Also, please include any 
pertinent information regarding how and 
where you captured the image and what 
camera and settings you used, along with 
your phone number. We look forward to 
seeing and sharing your work with the 
readers of Virginia Wildlifel 

m. J 


*jtoj?i lit" ' ^^^-ekac^^^l -m i. 

Congratulations to Reece Lukei, Jr. of Virginia Beach for his delightful image of a northern 
flicker eating poison ivy berries. Reece reports that when the berries are at their peak, the 
birds know it — feasting on them for two weeks. If you've ever wondered how poison ivy gets 
spread through your yard, Reece also reports that, after the birds feed on the berries, the tiny 
seeds are discharged as the birds perch around the yard. Reece captured this shot with a 
Nikon 0200 digital SLR camera, using a 80-400mm zoom lens at 400mm. 






Limited Edition 
Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 

Our 2008 Collector's knife has once again been customized by Buck Knives. 
The knife features a red-tailed hawk engraving, augmented by a natural 
woodgrain handle and gold lettering. A distinctive, solid cherry box features 
birds of prey. 

Item #VW-408 $90.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 

2007 Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 

Customized by Buck Knives, this classic model 1 10 folding knife is 8 1/2" 
long when fully opened and has a distinctive, natural woodgrain handle with 
gold lettering. Each knife is individually serial numbered and has a mirror pol- 
ished blade engraved with a fox. A solid cherry box engraved with foxes is in- 



and Turtles 

$90.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 

From mountains to the coast, our plush collectibles will remind you of your 
favorite Virginia habitat. (Sizes range from 5" to 9" long) 

$9.95 each 
$9.95 each 


White-tailed Fawn 

Hooks & Horns 
Video Game 

Match wits against the king of upland game 
birds, the spring gobbler, and test your hunt- 
ing skills with the magnificent white-tailed 

Item #VW-251 

$14.95 each 

To Order visit the Department's Web site at: or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 





Hunting License 

The new apprentice hunting license serves as a 
first-time Virginia resident or nonresident hunt- 
ing license and is good for 2 years. 

The license holder must be accompanied and 
directly supervised by a mentor over 18 who 
has on his or her person a valid Virginia hunting 

The apprentice license does not qualify the 
holder to purchase a regular hunting license, 
nor exempt the holder from compliance with 
Department regulations. A hunter education 
course must be successfully completed to ob- 
tain a regular hunting license. 

A bear, deer, turkey license and all applicable 
stamps or permits are required in addition to 
the apprentice license. 

Previous Virginia resident and nonresident 
hunting license holders may not use an appren- 
tice license. 

To learn more about the Virginia Apprentice 
Hunting License, call (866) 721-691 1 or log on 

This Holiday Season 

Give The Gift That Will Be Enjoyed 

All Year Long 

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This special holiday offer expires January 3 1, 2009. 

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er of Virginia. Mail to Virginia Wildlife, PO. Box 111 04, 
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